Unwritten Rules of a Productive Office

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Cultivating an office atmosphere that encourages productive, satisfactory work can be challenging for any entrepreneur. Everyone has different working preferences and different strengths and weaknesses, so it’s hard to find a suitable one-size-fits-all approach that works for everybody.

Nevertheless, there are structures and policies you can put in place that help your entire team perform their best, on a regular basis, and not all of these structures need to be formally written rules. In fact, there are many informal policies and procedures you can gently guide into existence that will develop the best possible environment for your workers:

1. Every Opinion Counts. You shouldn’t have a formally written rule that mandates every worker to share his/her opinion on everything. That would just cause people to make things up in order to fulfill a requirement. Instead, let people know that their opinions are important, and encourage them to vocalize them regularly. This will create an office environment where people are comfortable speaking their minds, and most employees will appreciate that quality. The added morale boost will make it so employees are more willing to work hard for the company, and the opinions you collect will do wonders for finding and solving infrastructural problems.

Ask people honest questions in public, about their workloads, responsibilities, and the office environment in general. Show people that you care what they and their coworkers have to say, and don’t discount anybody’s personal opinion.

2. The Internet Is a Forgivable Temptation. A decade ago, using the Internet for anything other than work was a serious infraction, and a waste of company time. Today, social media and the Internet as a whole are so ingrained in our lives that they’re completely unavoidable. Creating a rule that says “it’s fine to play around on the Internet” is a bad idea for obvious reasons. But there’s nothing wrong with informally letting people know it’s okay to spend a few minutes here and there, checking in on Facebook. People are going to fiddle on the Internet regardless of what you do–so if you catch someone using the Internet for personal reasons for a few minutes, don’t crack the whip.

Instead, let your coworkers know that personal Internet usage is permissible, but shouldn’t be abused. There’s a big difference between catching up on a news feed and doing hours of home shopping.

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